Professor and Director, Rural Studio
P. O. Box 278; 8448 Highway 61
Newbern, AL 36765
AA Diploma, Architecture, Architectural Association, 1994
Bachelor of Architecture, Polytechnic of Central London, 1988
Andrew Freear, from Yorkshire, England, is the Wiatt Professor at Auburn University Rural Studio. After the untimely death of Samuel Mockbee, Andrew became the Director of the Rural Studio in Newbern, West Alabama, in 2002. Educated at the Polytechnic of Central London and the Architectural Association, London, England, he has practiced extensively in London and Chicago, and taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago and as a Unit Master at the Architectural Association.
Having moved to Alabama over a decade ago, he lives in the small rural community of Newbern, West Alabama where his main role, aside from Directing the Rural Studio, is thesis project advisor to fifth-year undergraduate students and their building projects. The Rural Studio is a hands-on architectural pedagogy that not only teaches students to design and build charity homes and community projects, but also improves the living conditions in rural west Alabama. The focus of the students' thesis year is a community-based project and sustainable materials research. Working in small teams, the students' experience the Arts & Crafts "hands-on" building tradition where they work directly with the community and have the added dilemma of negotiating designs and procedures with their team-mates. Typically in teams of 3 or 4, the students conceive of the project and program, raise funds, write grants, make community presentations, and, design and build the projects from foundation to roof. Projects have ranged from baseball fields, community centers to a house made of cardboard.
Andrew Freear has designed, supervised and built Rural Studio exhibits in Chicago, Cincinnati, Vienna Austria, Barcelona Spain, at the 2002 Whitney Biennial in New York, the 2005 Sao Paulo Bienal of Architecture in Brazil and most recently at the V&A in London. The Studio's work has also been exhibited at the 2008 Venice Biennale and at MOMA NYC in 2010. He has received awards for Distinguished Service to Rural Life from the Rural Sociological Society, the Educator of Distinction Award from the American Society of Interior Designers and from the Architectural Review for Emerging Architects. His work at the Rural Studio has been published in Architectural Record, Architectural Review, Progressive Architecture, Dwell, Domus, Abitare and Lotus magazines. His work is also covered extensively in two books by Andrea Oppenheimer Dean and Timothy Hursley: the most recent entitled "Proceed and be Bold: The Rural Studio after Samuel Mockbee".
Andrew has lectured on the subject of the Rural Studio across the United States and as far a field as Berlin, Sydney, Barcelona and London. In contrast to this he is a member of the Board of the Rural Heritage Foundation in Thomaston Alabama, the Perry Lakes Board Marion Alabama, and of the Newbern Volunteer Fire Department in Newbern Alabama. He was also made an honorary Citizen of Marion Alabama for his work on the Perry Lakes Park Project.
In 2006, Mr. Freear was honored with The Ruth and Ralph Erskine Nordic Foundation Award which aspires to promote urban planning and architecture which is functional, economical and beautiful, and which is to the advantage of underprivileged and deprived groups in any society. He is the first American-based architect to win this prestigious award. In 2008 he was nominated as one of five laureates in the second edition of the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture; the purpose of this new architecture prize is to honour annually a living architect who moves towards sustainability.